Indian prime minister pats homage to Sri Lankans killed in Easter suicide bombings

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Indian prime minister pats homage to Sri Lankans killed in Easter suicide bombings

By Bharatha Mallawarachi/ cruxnow.com

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage Sunday to the more than 250 Sri Lankans killed in the Easter suicide bombings, and agreed with Sri Lanka’s leaders to step up cooperation to combat terrorism.

Modi, on his first overseas tour since being reelected this spring, emphasized India’s “neighborhood first” policy during weekend visits to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Before commencing official talks in Sri Lanka, Modi visited St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo - one of three churches targeted by bombers on April 21 - to pay respects to those killed in the attack. The bombings on three churches and three luxury hotels left 258 people dead. The suicide attacks also dealt a severe blow to Sri Lanka’s economy, hitting the Indian Ocean island nation’s vital tourism industry particularly hard.

“I am confident Sri Lanka will rise again. Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka,” Modi tweeted after visiting the church.

Photos with the tweet showed him in discussion with Catholic priests and viewing images of attack victims and renovation work on the church. Sri Lanka’s navy is handling the church’s renovation, which is expected to be completed this week.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday attacks, which were carried out by a local radicalized Muslim group known as National Thowheed Jammath that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Modi held discussions with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, focusing on bilateral relations and regional security, peace and stability.

“Since both Sri Lanka and India have been victims of terrorism, both the leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and decided to step up cooperation in this critical area,” Sri Lanka’s presidential office said in a statement.

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 22:55
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